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Clin J Sport Med. 2018 May;28(3):255-265. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000438.

Effect of E-Bike Versus Bike Commuting on Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Overweight Adults: A 4-Week Randomized Pilot Study.

Author information

1
Division of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
2
Center for Healthcare Studies, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.
3
Center of Medical Physics and Technology, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, China.
4
Basel Institute for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess if active commuting with an electrically assisted bicycle (e-bike) during a 4-week period can induce increases in cardiorespiratory fitness measured as peak oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak) in untrained, overweight individuals, and if these changes are comparable with those induced by a conventional bicycle.

DESIGN:

Four-week randomized pilot study.

SETTING:

Controlled laboratory.

PARTICIPANTS:

Thirty-two volunteers (28 men) participated. Seventeen {median age 37 years [interquartile range (IQR) 34, 45], median body mass index [BMI] 29 kg/m [IQR 27, 31]} were randomized to the E-Bike group and 15 [median age 43 years (IQR 38, 45), median BMI 28 kg/m (IQR 26, 29)] to the Bike group.

INTERVENTIONS:

Participants in both groups were instructed to use the bicycle allocated to them (e-bike or conventional bicycle) for an active commute to work in the Basel (Switzerland) area at a self-chosen speed on at least 3 days per week during the 4-week intervention period.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak was assessed before and after the intervention in an all-out exercise test on a bicycle ergometer.

RESULTS:

V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak increased by an average of 3.6 mL/(kg·min) [SD 3.6 mL/(kg·min)] in the E-Bike group and by 2.2 mL/(kg·min) [SD 3.5 mL/(kg·min)] in the Bike group, with an adjusted difference between the 2 groups of 1.4 mL/(kg·min) [95% confidence interval, -1.4-4.1; P = 0.327].

CONCLUSIONS:

E-bikes may have the potential to improve cardiorespiratory fitness similar to conventional bicycles despite the available power assist, as they enable higher biking speeds and greater elevation gain.

PMID:
29095201
DOI:
10.1097/JSM.0000000000000438
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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